Can't boot Windows, corrupt hal.dll &boot.ini

Lenovo / 7650dhu
September 21, 2010 at 14:22:30
Specs: Microsoft Windows XP Professional, 1.729 GHz / 3062 MB
I had an missing/corrupt boot.ini file, so I replaced it with a generic one (from this site somewhere) and I think I must've inadvertently put in a space or something. Anyway, for whatever reason now I can't boot up windows as it says I have a missing or corrupt <windows root>\system32\hal.dll file (which I do know this error is actually caused by the bad boot.ini)

Ok so how can I get access to at least a dos prompt or something, so I can correct
the boot.ini file.

I tried starting with all 3 Safe Mode options, and the 'last good config' to no avail.

Windows came pre-installed with no install disks.

Please help!
Thanks in advance

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September 21, 2010 at 15:11:43

first, download knoppix:

Burn it to a cd and put that cd in your cpu and boot from cd.

backup all your files

Re-Install Windows.


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September 21, 2010 at 16:15:39
ordirodi's advice may be the easy way out.
There is no DOS in XP. The closest is the Recovery Console but it will not be able to edit any files. You could do this with a live Linux CD, such as Knoppix.

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September 21, 2010 at 19:35:33
Ew, reinstall Windows? yikes. (considering I don't have an install disk, that could be an issue) That's looking a little scary to me.

Ok, well guess what, I found my Paragon recovery disks. Can I use these instead of knoppix?
If so, then I have a couple of questions...

First, what is the difference between a Recovery disk, and a Rescue disk. I labeled the Rescue disk "bootable" but I was under the impression they were both bootable. Which one do I use?

And, If I boot from the Rescue or Recovery disk, will I lose everything? or will all my Settings and Programs and Documents still be there?

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September 22, 2010 at 10:52:54
Just a note that I did solve my problem.

It did not require a re-install of Windows at all.
The entire process took 5 minutes but ended up a lot longer because I was afraid to do anything.

I used the "Rescue" disk from Paragon, booted from the CD and there is an option to fix the boot.ini .. it does it automatically.

It did not actually fix the error but it at least let me get Windows up so I could correct it properly. I had a space in Micro Soft and also another one before the " /fastdetect) between the " and the / ..
(I did copy/paste from another post I suppose I should've paid attention to what it pasted.)

All fixed.
Thanks for your input.

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